Moderna CEO Bansel to testify before Senate on price hike of Covid vaccine

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Moderna CEO Stephen Bancel will testify before the Senate Health Committee in March about the company’s plans to raise the price of its COVID-19 vaccine.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the health panel, confirmed in a statement Wednesday that Bancel will appear at a hearing titled: “Taxpayers Paid Billions for This: So Why Would Moderna Consider Quadrupling the Price of a Covid Vaccine?” “

Bansel will testify on March 22 at 10 a.m. ET.

Moderna’s CEO told the Wall Street Journal in January that the company was considering raising the price of its vaccine to between $110 and $130 once the federal government stops buying shots for the public and they are sold on the private market. Are. The US currently pays about $26 per dose for Moderna’s Omicron Booster, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Sanders called the proposed price hike “outrageous” in a letter to Bunsel last month, saying the vaccine was developed in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health using taxpayer money.

Sanders wrote to Bancel, “I find your decision particularly objectionable because the vaccine was jointly developed in partnership with scientists at the National Institutes of Health, a US government agency funded by US taxpayers.”

Sanders said raising the price of vaccines would negatively impact Medicare and Medicaid budgets and increase private health insurance premiums, but added that uninsured people would feel the most impact.

“Perhaps most importantly, quadrupling the price would make the vaccine unavailable to the millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans who would not be able to afford it,” Sanders said. “How many of these Americans will die from Covid-19 as a result of limited access to these life-saving vaccines?”

Bancel has sold over $400 million in the company’s stock from the beginning of the pandemic until March 2022. The Covid vaccine is currently the only commercially available product from Moderna.

The federal government has guaranteed free Covid vaccines for everyone in the country, regardless of insurance status, since the shots began in December 2020. For people who have Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance under the Affordable Care Act, vaccines will remain free even after federal. Covid vaccination program ends.

There are still 120 million Omicron boosters in the US that haven’t been used. People who don’t have insurance will continue to have access to these shots for free, but it’s unclear how long the supply will last.

When the federal supply runs out, uninsured adults may have to pay full cost for the shots. The White House has said it is developing a plan to help.

There is a federal free vaccine program for children whose families or caregivers cannot afford the vaccine.

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